Idol Chatter

The only reason to tune in tonight to Fox’s “Standoff“–from a religion-interested point of view, at least–is to get an update on the state of Hollywood’s relationship with Islamic fundamentalism. The show, about a pair of FBI hostage negotiators (Ron Livingston and Rosemarie DeWitt) who are also sweet on each other, reveals that we’re in a post-Osama period in which terror is a plot point, not a theme in itself, and a man in a Middle Eastern beanie and a vest of homemade explosives isn’t a vengeful hater of mankind, but maybe just a mixed-up kid with a Mommy problem.

But no one will watch “Standoff” for its cogency, which is already compromised by the notion that even a major city will have two traffic-halting, building-clearing hostage situations in a week. It’s when the fast-talking psychologists turn their mad chatter to romance that the show, debuting tonight after “House,” gets interesting.

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